Night mares are misunderstood. He’s had his herd for centuries and he’ll trust them with his favourite mug any day. Unlike those disastrous dreamwalkers who don’t know how to keep their sticky hands to themselves.
It’s not the mares’ fault that bad dreams cling to them like a drowned cat, but people like to confuse cause with correlation. So when one of his mares escape their pen, he starts his search immediately.
He finds the runaway a few hours to dawn in a child’s dream garden. Four hooves planted on the cotton candy grass while dark teeth chomp at a large marshmallow hanging from a candy cane tree. A line of charred and writhing dots shows the path the mare took to get the sweet snack.
A gentle touch against the long neck is enough to guide the mare away from the tree. A little skip and both of them are airborne. But the dots remain, little scary shadows in an otherwise happy childish dream. He reaches into his sack and sprinkles slivery gold dust into the landscape.
The dark patches lighten into iridescent butterflies. The beat of their wings tinkle like windchimes as they dance in the garden.
His night mares can’t control the bad dreams that follow them, but he hopes the good dreams he brings will supersede any night terrors.
Sweet dreams, little one.
July stories: 21/21
Only one word can do this scene justice.
A dozen sweaty, young people lie strewn around the living room like discarded clothes after a flash sale.
Among them, a single Border Collie hops excitedly from one limp child to the other, every bit as energetic as when they first started playing together four hours ago.
Looks like bedtime won’t be a problem tonight.
Genre: slice of life
July stories: 18/21
“Your orange juice,” the waiter says.
But the liquid in the glass isn’t orange. It’s green with purple frog eggs-like seeds.
Right, she’s in a different dimension.
She prods the thick juice with her straw. It was the only drink on the menu that sounded familiar. Maybe she should have just stuck with water.
Bracing herself, she takes a sip.
She flags a waiter.
“Can I have water?”
July stories: 14/21
Loose music sheets flutter in the air like autumn leaves, the only movements in a shell shocked practice hall.
He stares at the fallen tuba bracketed by his legs. Just another inch closer, and his family line would have ended with him.
The tubist breaks the stunned silence with a horrified gasp. “I am so sorry!”
One of the violists jump in. “You’re lucky. You were this close to an ER trip.”
If he really was lucky, the tuba wouldn’t have almost crushed him when its stand snapped. But he can’t deny that the accident could have been worse, so he keeps his mouth shut and scoots carefully away from the heavy brass instrument.
Is it too late for him to change seats?
Genre: slice of life
July stories: 12/21
They were called candidates. Genetically superior and rigorously trained, because only the best of the best could operate the intricate systems that kept their space colony running.
She called them children. Genetically bred for the role, yes, but they still get surprised and excited like their peers.
The problem was that out of the dozen children in each cohort, only one would successfully graduate. As for the rest… none of the general public knew where they disappeared to. Those who did know refused to share, lest they vanished too.
Like her parents and older brother.
She didn’t know why she was the only one in the family left behind. Maybe it was a rookie mistake. Maybe she wasn’t considered a threat.
As she stood alone in her empty kitchen, in between a table half-set with dinner and a pan of burnt paste, she made a promise to herself. Something shady was going on, and she would make sure they regretted the day they took her family but left her free.
Genre: sci-fi, science fiction
July stories: 11/21